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We burned again
The big fire set an example of cooperation. A fire fighting plane and helicopter from the Republic of Cyprus (RoC) arrived as a result of cooperating between the Cypriot leaders, security forces and the United Nations. Three fire helicopters from Turkey also joined in the fight against the blaze. The fire which broke out south of Tepebaşı ((Myrtou) spread through a woodland area before reaching Kalkanlı (Kalochorio). The Middle East Technical University (OTDÜ) and Kalkanlı retirement home were evacuated. Hundreds of acres of forest area were destroyed.
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Our life was burnt
Cyprus fought against fires yesterday (Sunday). Thousands of trees burned to ashes in forest fires which raged both in the north and the south. The lush greenery was charred into ash, causing pain in everyone’s hearts. There was fear, panic and solidarity among the public. Moreover, we felt the agony of not having a fire-fighting helicopter on standby. The forest fire which started in Tepebaşı (Myrtou) – Kalkanlı (Kalochorio) area spread to Kormçit (Kormakitis) and Akdeniz (Agia Irini) villages. As a result of the fire, the Middle East Technical University campus and the Kalkanlı (Kalochorio) retirement home were evacuated. The fire-fighting helicopters and planes from the Greek Cypriot side, Turkey and the public on the ground battled the flames.
- ‘A nomad in her own city’ – Deniz Birinci who is forced to stay in the south because of her daughter’s treatment spoke to Yenidüzen about her experiences. “I can see the garden of my own home from the apartment flat I’m staying in. I can see it but I can’t go there. It’s a strange feeling,” she said.
There were ten fires over the weekend in Cyprus. Two of them were in the south and eight in the north. Hundreds of trees and dunams of land turned into ash. The firefighters started the day first with a fire in Taşkent (Vouno) followed by Yılmazköy (Skylloura), Erdemli (Tremetousia), Düzova (Exo Metochi), Ercan (Tymbou) airport area and Alevkayası in Kyrenia. Then around noon, a fire broke out at Tepebaşı (Myrtou). The fire, which started in a field, fanned by strong winds quickly spread to the forest area. The fire-fighters tried to put out the fire with three helicopters from Turkey and one from the south. The Middle East Technical University campus was evacuated as a precaution. The efforts to put out the fire, which reached Kalkanlı (Kalochorio) continued until the morning. In addition to the firefighters, the police, civil defence teams, personnel from the department of forestry and the department of agriculture, as well as volunteers, worked until the morning to put out the fire. The three helicopters from Turkey waited on stand-by throughout the night. Another fire broke out in the Sotiras forest adjacent to the Nicosia-Limassol motorway. Six fire engines, a fire-fighting plane and a police helicopter worked to put out the fire.
- Covid-19 era in farmer’s market – The weekly farmer’s markets, which had been closed down on March 14 March as part coronavirus measures, was reopened yesterday (Sunday). Entry to the farmer’s market in Nicosia was restricted to three points and was monitored by the Nicosia Turkish Municipality (LTB) personnel.
- The latest situation: North 108 cases, four deaths; South 916 cases, 24 deaths; Turkey 149,435 cases, 4,140 deaths.
A first for the island
A plane from the south and helicopters from Turkey arrived. Fields were burned in Gönendere (Knodara) and Tepebaşı (Myrtou). The fire reached the OTDÜ campus causing panic and fear. As three fire fighting helicopters were dispatched from Turkey, President Mustafa Akıncı who arrived at the scene noticed that the aircraft would not make it on time. H called the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades who immediately sent fire fighting plane and helicopter to the north. The TRNC people thanked Turkey and the Greek Cypriot administration for its assistance, the first of its kind since 1974.
And we burnt
The restrictions were lifted, we went out…Among the many fires that broke out in the northern part of Cyprus, the biggest one was in Tepebaşı (Myrtou). The cause of the fire is not yet known. Police are investigating the cause of the fire. Fanned by strong winds, the fire was spread to Kalkanlı (Kalochorio) and reached Kormacit (Kormakitis). Three helicopters from Turkey and a helicopter plane from the Greek Cypriot side worked to put out the fire. Volunteers from the area also came to help the firefighters put out the fire. The Turkish Cypriot side for the first time asked for assistance from the Greek Cypriot side. The forest fire became an important step towards collaboration between the sides.
- Mustafa Akıncı: “We asked for assistance from the south, they sent a plane and a helicopter.”
Two sides collaborated to put out the forest fireYenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
Internal Security, CBMs
A fire raging between Tepebaşı (Diorios), Kalklanlı (Kalochorio) and Kormacit (Kormakitis), was brought under full control early Sunday evening after almost six hours of battling the flames.
The forest fire coupled with strong winds caused massive damage, all dailies reported on Monday.
In addition to mobilizing all the fire-fighting units in the north, the Turkish Cypriot authorities asked for assistance from the Greek Cypriot side and Turkey to help put out the fire.
A firefighting aeroplane from the Republic of Cyprus (RoC) Forestry Department and a helicopter from the Search and Rescue Centre joined in the efforts to put out the fire.
Some dailies reported that it was the first time since 1974, that such assistance was requested from and provided by the south.
President Mustafa Akıncı, in a statement, said additional air-support had been called in to bring the fire under control because winds and terrain were making the situation all the more difficult.
Firefighting aircraft from turkey also joined in the firefighting efforts.
Akıncı explained that the help was requested following a consensus reached with the cabinet.
He noted that the office of the president has initiated the necessary contact with the Greek Cypriot authorities.
Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay in a social media post said his office had contacted the Greek Cypriot authorities through the United Nations Peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) to coordinate the assistance together with the civil aviation authorities.
“Turkish Cypriot authorities are working in full collaboration with Turkey, the Greek Cypriot side and the Sovereign Base Area authorities. We are all trying to manage the crisis in a coordinated manner,” Özersay said.
One fire-fighting helicopter, one plane from the Greek Cypriot side and three firefighting helicopters from Turkey joined in the efforts to put out the fire. In addition to the aerial support, the Greek Cypriot side had also deployed two fire-fighting trucks to support the Turkish Cypriot fire-fighters.
In the meantime, the Kalkanlı (Kalochorio) retirement home and the Middle East University’s (METU) North Cyprus campus were evacuated as the fire encroached the area.
The fire was brought under control before any extensive damage was caused
In an earlier statement on Sunday Akıncı expressed his sadness regarding the forest fire. He recalled he had planted some of the new trees about eight months ago himself.
“The fire will cause a very big environmental catastrophe. There is no ethnicity of the beauties on the island. The environment belongs to everyone – to Turkish Cypriots, to Greek Cypriots and Maronites,” Akıncı said.
In a telephone call with Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades, Akıncı thanked him for the quick offer of help.
The extent of the damage caused by the fire or its cause has yet to be determined as the priority was bringing the fire under control and starting the cooling process on Sunday evening.
However, people posted pictures on social media, of Kalkanlı’s (Kalochorio) famous monumental olive trees, which some are as old as 800 years, gutted and destroyed.
The “Monumental Olive Trees Centre,” which is located in the Kalkanlı (Kalochorio) Valley and is home to nearly 2000 olive trees ranging in age from 200 years to 500, the oldest being 800 years old.
Trees are recognized by the EU as a heritage monument.
It was reported that 90 per cent of the trees have been destroyed.
Later on Sunday evening, Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ersin Tatar announced that the fire had been brought under control and cooling efforts would continue into the night.
Speaking following a coordination meeting held with the relevant authorities to Bayrak, Tatar thanked everyone for their help and their assistance to put out the fire.
Tatar also noted he has instructed the police commissioner to look into various allegations such as arson and negligence.